Team 2 are one of the favourites for relegation from Division 1 this year – well according to the League’s esteemed match Secretary Mr Benjamin they are! As if rallied by the vote of no confidence in them they travelled to take on North Merchiston 3 in Week 3 and came away with a terrific 6-4 win. Both sides had players playing up from Div 2 and the battle of James Wighton and Slawomir Bess was to prove decisive in the end - 11-8 in the fifth for James was to prove vital. An undefeated night for Ian Hislop and two wins out of three for Gary secured the victory. In fairness to North Merchiston, this match turned on a couple of points here and there – 4 matches went to deciding fifth ends and all of them were won by the visitors.
Team 3 were looking to build on a good start to their Division 2 campaign as they took on Granton at Ladywood. With Krzysztof once again breaking club rules by going on holiday during the league season, James and Abby Wighton joined forces with Iain Johnstone as Team 3 recorded their second win of the season. Iain would expect to lose very few at this level and he showed his class with another good night. Abby added two wins and should have probably made it 3 losing her other match from a winning position 12-14 in the fifth. James meanwhile added one win while Abby and Iain combined for the doubles as they secured a 7-3 victory.
Our second Division 2 side travelled to Bathgate to play their 3rd match of the season v West Lothian 4. This four-man team played their 3rd different combination in 3 matches as Julian dropped to the bench. The “squad rotation” system seems to be working as Tony Brentnall, Sonny Taylor and Chris Markey maintained Team 4’s 100% record with a convincing 8-2 victory against their West Lothian opponents. Chris was the player of the night for the visitors this week, dropping only 1 end out of the 13 he played in singles and doubles. Sonny and Tony both picked up 2 wins, both losing out to different opponent’s in extremely tight 5th end deciders. A 3rd consecutive win keeps them 2nd on game difference behind a very strong looking Fife side.
Team 5 fielded the same side as Week 1 as George Wilson, Kristian Skotzen and Rachel Petrie hosted West Lothian 6. Planning and preparation is everything for this team – on the eve of the match Rachel and Kristian had been studying YouTube videos of how to defeat a long pimples player in preparation for the arrival of Ros Beck. El Presidente had been involved in giving some confusing tips and then late on Tuesday evening, Hannah, who should definitely have been asleep, joined the WhatsApp conversation and provided her notes for how to play against long pimples thanks to Graham Booth who she pointed out had almost beaten old dad last year! Imagine the laughter in the McDonell household as the message came through on match night that Ros wasn’t playing! Ros, if you’re reading this you need to play against us in the second half or what a waste of time this exercise has been! Kristian had a great night winning all three of his singles and combining with George for a win in the doubles. The first 7 matches all went the way of the home side before Tommy Toner (there’s no YouTube video out there to explain how to play against Tommy) picked up a win v Rachel and Neil Webb took out George. An 8-2 win for Team 5 and the holidaying Craig Linton is now wondering whether he’ll be able to get into the side!
And so, to our Player of the Week award for Week 3. Ian Hislop, Iain Johnstone, Kristian Skotzen and Chris Markey all had unbeaten nights. Young Iain (as we like to call him) is going to have to do something really special to win a POTW Award this season given he’s playing slightly out of position in terms of rating – that something special didn’t happen this week. Kristian and Chris both had good nights against decent opposition and combined for doubles wins. Ian H on the other hand lost the doubles that he played in but his three wins were more important for the team who would not have secured a victory but for his unbeaten night in singles play. It’s a tough one this week and our Committee have been put under some pressure from various emails suggesting that a certain Division 3 player surely merits the award – only his second match in Division 3 and he picks up a maximum. For one week only we’re going to let the Rating Central System decide – who picked up the most points for their wins? Chris, unfortunately, you’re out – a +19 difference for you. So, it’s between Ian H and Kristian – would you believe it – both players picked up 39 points! We always knew that system was rubbish! Winning 3 when your team really needed it was the difference this week – Good effort Kristian but our deserved Week 3 winner is Ian H.
And finally, to our Controversy of the Week section. Umpiring decisions are a regular feature in this Report and whilst on this occasion the issue in question did not impact on the overall result, it highlights the difficulty in us “players” umpiring matches. In game 3 of Rachel’s match v West Lothian’s Tommy, eagle eyed umpire Kristian saw Tommy dash to the table to retrieve a short ball. He put his hand down on the table and used that to push himself back away from the table. Rachel fluffed her next shot, but Kristian awarded the point to Rachel because of what he had seen. Tommy disputed matters on the basis that he felt he had just brushed the table but accepted the decision without too much fuss and in the end ran away with the match 3-0.
Now Kristian obviously knew there was some rule about putting your hand on the table. The table wasn’t moved by Tommy’s actions – I think most of us know that rule and that would have resulted in a point being awarded against him. So, what are the Rules about touching the table with your hand??
“A player shall score a point if his opponent's free hand touches the playing surface”.
Maybe that’s the rule the Umpire was thinking about – the problem here was that it was Tommy’s “racquet hand” according to Kristian, that touched the table. What about the following:
“A player shall score a point if his opponent touches the table with either hand before striking the ball”.
What does that actually mean? Does it mean you can touch the table with your racquet hand as you strike the ball or after you strike it? And you can see the sense in that if you think about getting the bat under a short low ball – chances are your hand may be in contact with the table. Kristian was honest enough to admit that he thought the rule was very simple – either hand touches the table and the point goes against you. Was he right? The point, of course, is that none of the 6 players involved actually knew what the rule said and none of them had the rules before them. Even if they had referred to the Rules would they have been able to determine the matter?? Maybe it is straightforward but we're all now confused! Answers on a postcard please…..